Source: Eagles' Rodney McLeod has surgery on MCL, done for season

Source: Eagles' Rodney McLeod has surgery on MCL, done for season

The Eagles are going to have to go the rest of the season without a big part of their defense. 

Rodney McLeod had surgery on Thursday morning to repair a torn MCL he suffered in Sunday’s game. His season is over, a league source told NBC Sports Philadelphia's Derrick Gunn. 

This is a huge loss for the Eagles. While Malcolm Jenkins is one of the Eagles’ best players, McLeod had been playing really well through three games and this is a big loss for the team. 

McLeod, 28, joined the Eagles before the 2016 season and has played nearly every game for them since then. He had six interceptions in his first two years in Philly and formed a strong duo with Jenkins. 

After Sunday’s game, McLeod said he felt OK and was walking without issue, but the subsequent tests obviously showed there was more damage than originally thought. Head coach Doug Pederson on Wednesday said he wasn’t ready to give an update on McLeod because the results from one final test had yet to come in. 

Without McLeod, the Eagles will have to rely on veteran Corey Graham. The 33-year-old signed with the Eagles during training camp to return for his second season with the Birds. He has been playing some, but will now become a starter. 

“It really don’t change much,” Graham said on Sunday night about possibly taking over a starter’s role. “We’re going to run our same packages, do the same thing we’ve been doing. Instead of playing 30 plays a game, I’ll play 60. It don’t really change too much for me. I’ll still be doing the same exact thing, but more.”

But with Graham sliding into a starting role, that means the Eagles’ third safety is either Deiondre’ Hall, who came via a trade before the season, or Tre Sullivan, who will probably be promoted from the practice squad. 

Without a third safety, the Eagles won’t be able to deploy Jenkins the way they have in past seasons. Jenkins, at times, has played nickel corner and even linebacker. 

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Why Eagles need Brandon Graham to have a big year as a pass rusher

Why Eagles need Brandon Graham to have a big year as a pass rusher

Brandon Graham's future with the Eagles was uncertain heading into the offseason, but the 31-year-old defensive end is back with a new, three-year deal.

Graham started all 16 games for the Eagles last season and recorded four sacks and nine tackles for loss. 

He'll be a key part of the defense this season, especially with the team having lost defensive ends Michael Bennett and Chris Long.

"He needs to be a double-digit [sacks] guy in order for this defense to really work the way it's supposed to work," according to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Barrett Brooks.

Brooks and Derrick Gunn discuss why Graham comes in eighth on their list of the 10 most important Eagles in the video above. 

Donovan McNabb reflects on Eagles career, motivation from 'opinionated fans,' more in interview

Donovan McNabb reflects on Eagles career, motivation from 'opinionated fans,' more in interview

While many Eagles fans have mixed emotions about Donovan McNabb and his tenure as a Philadelphia Eagle, that feeling is not mutual. 

In town Thursday to meet kids at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in the Nicetown section of Philadelphia, McNabb told me that it’s all happy when he reflects on his time with the Eagles.

“I don’t get involved in the banter outside, the negative or people’s opinions," he said. "It was fulfilling a dream of playing football. And I have four kids of my own who were a part of the run we had here in Philadelphia so it was fun — it was a lot of fun.”

As for this year’s Eagles team, McNabb believes this squad can get to the Super Bowl, and he feels that everything begins and ends with Carson Wentz and his health. But it comes as no surprise that the former quarterback picked the guys who protect Wentz as most important to the Eagles' success outside of the signal caller.

“I think that offensive line has to gel like they were a couple years ago and take pressure off of Carson," McNabb said.

And yes, Philly fans, Five will always love you … and laugh with you. 

“I truly love what the fans have done for me and the support that I’ve had through my career," he said. "Sometimes you have your opinionated fans and that motivates and drives me, to this day. I laughed about it now and I laughed about it then.”

Fans will have a chance to chuckle with McNabb this fall when he’s inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame on November 7.

You can watch more of my interview with McNabb above.

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